MONROE — On Nov. 2, Marion Holloway was elected the next Mayor of Monroe. The Enquirer-Journal spent some time with Holloway just before he left to go see the University of Georgia’s football team play on Saturday against the University of Missouri in Athens. Holloway has had season tickets at his alma mater for almost 50 years.

Holloway’s rootsHolloway has lived most of his life in the City of Monroe, with the exception of time spent in Georgia, Oklahoma and Kentucky.

He graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in economics. He served six years in the National Guard during the Vietnam War, being stationed at Fort Sill in Oklahoma and Fort Campbell in Kentucky.

Holloway worked in commercial banking for 15 years. It’s now been almost 40 years since he began operating Holloway’s Music Center off Skyway Drive in Monroe; his grandfather and father previously operated the same store. In 2013, Holloway’s Music Center was chosen to be the number one independent music retailer in the United States by The Music & Sound Retailer magazine.

He was selected for the Young Man of the Year in the 1970’s for his work with the Union County Chamber of Commerce and the JayCees, also known as the United States Junior Chamber.

Holloway said he lives by his moral compass, and the work ethic his parents instilled in him, as well as his faith. Holloway, previously a Monroe Councilman, prays before every Council meeting.

His Politics

To sum up his political beliefs, Holloway said he is more fiscally conservative but more liberal on social issues.

In a previous interview with the Enquirer-Journal, Holloway said having a native as Mayor would be a benefit because that person could “embrace the traditions of the past as well as look to the future.” Monroe doesn’t have a spotless past. During the Civil Rights Movement, Monroe was embroiled in racial controversy. The Kissing Case, Freedom Riders and Robert Williams are deeply rooted in Monroe’s history. He recalls living in the city during the 1960’s. He and his father were “appalled” at the sight of people “going wild, attacking each other.”

“Having lived here gave me some insight into the mindset of a lot of our citizens,” Holloway said. “I think you learn from your mistakes. You should. If you don’t you’ll be making those same mistakes and they’ll just be worse and worse.”

Holloway clarified that “traditions” means bringing back the good memories of the city, when people in small groups strolled Main Street as well as the rest of the downtown area. He feels a sense of pride when he sees people doing that very thing when there are events held downtown, like pop-up shopping days or Music on Main. That’s one thing from Monroe’s past Holloway is glad to see make a return.

In regards to the future, Holloway would like to find ways to entice residents to work, live and play without having to go outside the city borders. He wants to create more jobs within the city. He wants to see more businesses who are eco-friendly move to Monroe.

As mayor, he plans to have one day a week with office hours set aside for the public to visit and speak with him.

“I am going to be known as the park mayor,” Holloway said during a candidate forum co-hosted by the Enquirer-Journal and the League of Women Voters. Holloway views parks as a priority for Monroe because land, over the next several years, could go to residential and commercial developments. Holloway wants to avoid a situation where there is not enough land to build city parks. His plan is to form public-private partnerships to build parks.

The Election

On Nov. 2, Holloway won 46.10% of the vote for mayor (1,507 votes), followed by Bob Yanacsek at 30.93% (1,011 votes) and Angelia James at 22.76% (744 votes). Write-in votes took the remaining 0.21% (seven votes).

Current Councilmembers Franco McGee and Surluta Anthony did not retain their seats. Gary Anderson, Julie Thompson and James Kerr will be filling those Council seats.

Holloway began serving on council with the 2017 election and is currently Mayor Pro-Tem.

Kilgore’s Leadership

Holloway isn’t sure yet how many terms he would like to serve, but said: “I can unequivocally say it will not be eight terms like Bobby Kilgore.”

Kilgore is the outgoing Mayor of Monroe.

Holloway said he’ll know when it’s time to not run for re-election.

Prior to Holloway being elected, Kilgore was mayor of Monroe for 16 years and a council member for eight years before that. He also worked as police chief in Monroe. In total, Kilgore served the City for 54 years.

Projects that have been completed, or at least started, during Kilgore’s years in local politics include: building the Monroe Aquatics Center, bringing in a natural gas pipeline, re-opening The Dowd Center Theatre, opening the Monroe Science Center, converting the former Enquirer-Journal building into a senior center, the revitalization of downtown and building a new police station.

When asked how he felt about being the next guy up after Kilgore, Holloway said, he has “big shoes to fill.”

“Bobby Kilgore has been an institution. … He is one of the most likable men I have ever been around. His demeanor — I know on the inside he might be boiling, but he’s like a duck. He’s just paddling,” Holloway said.

Holloway said he will ask Kilgore’s advice as needed. “Our city is in good shape,” Holloway said. “It has been entrusted to us to carry that forward.”